By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
Survivor fans knew from the way Matthew Grinstead-Mayle fell off that rock face that he had injured himself pretty badly. What they didn’t know and Matthew wasn’t aware of while on the island was how severely he had hurt himself. A dislocated shoulder in reality the very least of his worries when he flew back home and was assessed in the United States.
“I got home and we found out that I had a laundry list of issues. I had surgery in November and that surgery addressed my fractured humerus. A piece about the size of a dime had broken off and that had to be remodeled. I fractured my scapula that had to be reattached. I tore my rotator cuff and I tore my labrum, which is the lining of your shoulder. That had to be readdressed. The cartilage in my joint was shut down and had to be reattached. My subscapularis muscle had to be reattached,” he said detailing his very long and agonizing list of injuries.
Once all of the surgeries were completed Matthew went through a lot of physical therapy.
“I was with Ohio State’s Athletic Sports Group. They have been treating me as a college athlete. As far as my progression I am back to doing full workouts. I’m back to training for that second chance! I’m back in the gym. I’m getting my body back. It’s been a long process but the team at Ohio State and my physical therapy team have all been working with the goal of I want to be back on Survivor and to get me back into that shape,” he said.
What many fans are wondering about the mishap is why Matthew attempted to scale the wet, slick and dangerous rock face to begin with? Well, you might as well ask a dog why it barks or a rooster why it crows. It was just Matthew being Matthew.
“First off, that beach is by far my favorite beach in all Survivor history! When I saw that I was on that beach, I was like: This is perfect! We get done with that Sweat Challenge. It’s the next morning. I make fire for the crew. We’re finally getting to explore. One of my personal mantras going into Survivor was I love nature. I love being outside but I also need to find those advantages, those hidden idols…Looking at that rock there is, you kind of see it from one of the drone shots, but there was something weird on top of that. That’s honestly what it was. I was like: ‘That is weird. I’m gonna go for it’. It was very spontaneous and instantaneous. That’s very true to who I am. I’m a spontaneous person….I love that about myself. I have the ability to just be very free and spontaneous. It leads to a lot of great new adventures because I don’t hold myself to any kind of rules or whatnot. I lead a pretty free life,” he said.
What fans didn’t see was Matthew’s medical journey after he was hurt. Survivor’s medical team did check him out and continued to gauge his situation during his stay. When he arrived at Ponderosa after leaving the game his shoulder went under another appraisal but in order for them to really get a sense of Matthew’s condition they would have to scan it at medical facility or a hospital and that was a nine hour ride to the other side of the country and at the time there was the COVID bubble to consider.
“There was really nothing that they could do for me but I needed to be out of the game. I needed to eat food. I needed to start the healing process. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t much they could do for me other than start that healing process,” said Matthew.
It wasn’t the first time COVID made life difficult for Matthew. He was supposed to be cast on season 41 but there were complications due to outbreak so he was bumped. That actually worked in Matthew’s favour as he was able to train for the show even further. It is why he surprised even himself when he finally got to play.
“I wouldn’t have been the same player if I was on 41. I don’t think I would have been as effective. I wouldn’t have the competence. That extra time gave me the ability to really work on my skills. All the time that I spent preparing worked. It was valid. I was very, very prepared. Not only did I work my social game but there was just the surviving the elements. I had knowledge. I had skills. The reason I was a well-rounded player was because I made myself into that well-rounded player,” he said proudly.
One of Matthew’s best strategic moves of the season was planting the fake hidden immunity idol that was eventually found by Jaime. She wasn’t the original target though. It was supposed to be Lauren. Matthew did connect with Jaime on a personal level but not on a strategic level. Matthew shifted the fake idol to her because he was already in tight with Kane, Brandon and Carson.
“That gave me the trust and the bond that I needed with Jamie. Now, Jamie and I are solid. That’s the bond I needed. It is the shield that I need down the road,” he explained.
As I surmised in this week’s recap, Matthew revealed that one of the ideas going into the merger for Ratu was to form a super alliance with Tika to take Soka down.
“Throughout the game Soka was seen as the most well-rounded tribe and probably the ones that were most set up to win. We really wanted to pull in Tika and start taking out Soka. That was the plan to start taking out those numbers,” he revealed.
Should he get his second chance at playing the game Matthew is already working through his approach and strategy.
“If I do go back, everybody’s seen that I can play this game and I can play it very, very hard. I would have to step it up. I have got to be even more creative. I’ve got to be even more than what I was and I can’t play the same tricks twice…I’ve got to come up with new tricks and that’s the thing, I love to be creative,” he said.